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Review: the Emirates First Class lounge (Concourse B) at Dubai International Airport

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The article you really want to see – my review of Emirates First Class in the new private suites on the Boeing 777-300ER fleet – is on the way in a couple of days.

Before that, however, I need to run through my disappointing visit to the Emirates First Class lounge in Concourse B, which is the older part of Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3.

Emirates – website here – has an interesting approach to lounges at its home airport.  In both Concourse B and the new A380-dedicated Concourse A, it follows the same pattern.  The ground floor – one long, narrow space with gates on either side – is for shoppers and Economy passengers.  The upper floors, which are basically a wide balcony looking down onto the main concourse, are for premium passengers.

In the new concourse, Business Class and First Class have totally separate floors.  I reviewed that here.

In the older Concourse B, there is only one balcony level and it is split in two.  Half is for Business Class and half is for First Class.

You might be able to see the problem here already.  When your lounge is basically a mini-terminal in its own right, it doesn’t feel like a lounge.  It feels like being in a quiet airport terminal.

It is hard to put the difference into words.  Here’s an example – in most airport lounges, and certainly a First Class lounge, I wouldn’t think twice about leaving all my personal possessions on a table whilst I went off in search of refreshments or the loo.  In the Emirates First Class Lounge, you don’t do that.  Because it feels like a quiet airport instead of a lounge, and is so big, you react differently.

Getting to the Emirates First Class Lounge

Let’s go back a couple of hours.  Until 1st March, you can still book an Emirates chauffeur car on a redemption ticket.  My driver picked me up from the Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights, reviewed here, at 6.30am for the short drive to the airport.

Business and First Class passengers use a totally separate entrance at Dubai International.  You don’t mix with Economy passengers until you are on the concourse.  Dubai International is so big, however, that the Business and First Class check-in area is bigger than most UK regional airports:

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Airport review

I didn’t need to get the train to the new concourse so was quickly walking past the shops to the escalators which took me up to the lounge complex.

Where you really can’t go wrong here is reading material.  Take a look at this:

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Airport review

Quite a few English newspapers are printed in Dubai so even though it was only 3.30am UK time I could still get the current editions.

I hadn’t eaten in the hotel so decided to head to the restaurant.  This was a curious mix of buffet and a la carte dining.  The menu was extensive, with all of the cooked and fresh breakfast options you’d expect, but my eggs benedict suffered from being on a crispy biscuit.  I also had a fruit platter.

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Airport review

This is the restaurant at 7.30am – it wasn’t hugely inspiring:

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Airport review

I was on Concourse B because I was on a Boeing 777 instead of an A380, although some A380 flights also seem to use Concourse B.  One downside of not being on an A380 was that we couldn’t board directly from the lounge level – the 777 isn’t high enough – so I had to take the escalator back down to the concourse.

There are other food stations, including specific Mediterranean and Japanese ones, as you walk around the space.  Here are a few random shots:

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Airport review


Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Airport review


Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Airport review

It was about as exciting as it looked.  There is a small kids zone, but your kids need to be able to play video games:

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Airport review

Even the champagne bar could only offer Moet & Chandon, which is a bit odd given that Emirates serves Dom Perignon on board.

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Airport review

Whilst I was having a glass of champagne, someone came up and offered to shine my shoes for me.  I thought he would do it whilst I sat there, potentially whilst wearing them, but he disappeared with them and returned 10 minutes later.  He did a good job though …..

The First Class lounge has a Timeless Spa.  Whilst I didn’t go in, I was entitled to a free 15 minute treatment – a back massage, leg and feet relaxation therapy, head massage, Thai body stretch or hand massage.

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Airport review

A lot of other treatments, including hair cuts and beard trimming, were available for around £30.  I think there is an identical spa, without the free treatments, in the Business Class side of the lounge.

Emirates First Class Lounge conclusion

I like Emirates a lot, but the lounges don’t do it for me.  Even the one at Heathrow has the feel of a Holiday Inn, with no dedicated First Class area, and is only redeemed by direct ‘lounge to plane’ boarding.

The First Class lounge in Concourse B just doesn’t cut it.  With such a huge space, I’m not even sure there is much Emirates can do about it.  With so many First Class passengers passing through, and one enormous open plan space, you are never going to feel cossetted.

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai Airport review

Things were about to improve, however, as I boarded my plane to, erm, London Stansted ……

If you want a taster, Emirates has a section on its website dedicated to its new Boeing 777 First Class Suite which you can find here.

How to earn Emirates Skywards miles from UK credit cards

How to earn Emirates Skywards miles from UK credit cards (September 2023)

Emirates Skywards does not have a UK credit card.  However, you can earn Emirates Skywards miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.

Cards earning Membership Rewards points include:

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Emirates Skywards miles which is an attractive rate.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Emirates Skywards mile. The Gold card earns double points (2 per £1) on all flights you charge to it.

Comments (46)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Alex says:

    There is no direct lounge boarding of any aircraft from the B lounges. All aircraft (including 777) can be boarded directly from the A lounge.

  • MDA says:

    Do they still have massage seats on the 777 business seats?
    I know it was the older 777’s but having tried the A380 business seats I was left disappointed

  • David says:

    We flew Emirates to and from Australia a few years back now. They messed up the chauffeur car in Dubai – sending too small a car for our luggage and 4 passengers – even though they sent a van on the LHR to Dubai leg. My wife was distraught as I told them to take the car and check in whilst I sorted the mess Emirates had made. She had to do battle at check in, I did battle with Customer ‘Service’ as the driver had little or no English and was of no help. They refused to pay for a taxi for me but instead sent another car on a 35min drive from the airport, meaning I had about 10 minutes to get the plane when I arrived at the airport. I was assured I would be met and whisked through check in but no one did so. The lounge staff thought it quite funny and on complaining I got a few points thrown at me. Emirates ruined a £10,000 business and holiday trip and simply ignore any complaints. It seems airlines are immune to normal retail practice of returning money for services not delivered. As a result I really would not recommend them as unless things go their way they really cannot cope or do the right thing by customers. Their lounges also do nothing much for me. A total let down.

    • @mkcol says:

      Confused. Why should you be refunded money for getting you to the airport & on the aircraft before departure? Yes it wasn’t the overall experience you wanted & expected, however their contract was to get you from A to B, which they did.

  • Waribai says:

    Slightly OT but we’re heading off to Garmisch Partenkirchen this morning for our half term skiing and all the talk is about the passenger who was sued by Lufthansa for missing his last leg to Oslo. Any thoughts on whether Lufthansa’s appeal will get anywhere? Apologies if this has been discussed elsewhere?

    • Rob says:

      Hard to tell. There is commercial logic both ways.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      For LH to appeal you need to lose first time around. Having lost, you then need to demonstrate why that decision was wrong. It’s not a simple case of asking the same question again and again until you get the right answer. LH might yet win, but they have a head not tail wind.

    • Waribai says:

      Indeed, I’m just hoping BA do not follow in a similar vein. Although, we only do this once every couple of years so hopefully we wouldn’t be at the top of the hit list!

  • BJ says:

    Having had my phone stolen from my table whilst travelling First Class on East Coast I’m curious why you would think that it safer to leave valuables sitting around unattended in a First Class airline lounge than any other?

    • Rob says:

      Anyone on a £10 ticket can walk from Standard to First on the train and nick stuff. Lounge access is more tightly controlled.

      • Alex Sm says:

        Exactly – but how would this correlate with the size of a lounge? It’s easier to spot something / someone wrong in a big and relatively empty space

        • Rob says:

          There is no logic. It is just a feeling you get. Perhaps a similar lounge in a different place would give a different response. Perhaps a more modern and cutting edge lounge would make me feel different.

    • John says:

      Hmm, when travelling solo (on a train) it feels weird to pack up everything just to go to the loo, then come back to the same seat and unpack. Guess I’ve been lucky not to have things stolen.

      In a lounge it feels less weird because I won’t return to the same seat.

      In T5 GF so many people leave their phones to charge by the desktop computers then sit where they can’t even see their device. But in Europe I don’t tend to worry about things being stolen from lounges…

  • Alex Sm says:

    Rob and others – does anyone know what happened to the new Dubai airport in the end? Did Emirates completely abandon plans to relocate there?

    • Rob says:

      No idea. Airport is up and running. More discussion about using it if EK and Etihad merge as it is in the middle(ish).

    • BlueHorizonuk says:

      I thought the original plan was that all the airlines were to move to the new airport (DWC) and that DXB would be only for Emirates.

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